For Immediate Release
February 10, 2020

BC Ferries offers travel tips for the Family Day long weekend

VICTORIA – It’s the first holiday weekend of 2020 and BC Ferries has some travel tips for customers planning to take the ferry between Thursday, February 13 and Monday, February 17 for Family Day.

Last year, across all routes, BC Ferries carried more than 205,000 passengers for the Family Day long weekend. The company has added more than 20 extra sailings on the Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Vancouver Island (Swartz Bay) route, the busiest route in the fleet. Historically, the most popular travel times are Thursday and Friday afternoon, as well as Saturday morning, with many travellers leaving from Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals. Family Day Monday and the following Tuesday morning are typically the most popular times for people to return to Metro Vancouver from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

To avoid sailing waits, BC Ferries recommends customers make a reservation, or travel at less busy times. The best times to travel and additional travel tips are available on BC Ferries’ Travel Planning pages at

Family Day Long Weekend Travel Tips

  • Reserve in advance – Reserve early to secure a spot on the sailing time of your choice. Customers with flexibility can travel at off-peak times to avoid the rush. Reserve online at Customers with reservations do not have sailing waits, even when multiple waits are reported.
  • Arrive early – Customers with reservations should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes before their anticipated sailing.
  • Check-in smoothly – Have your booking reference number ready upon arrival at the ticket booth to expedite the check-in process if you have made a reservation.
  • Be prepared for sailing waits – At popular times, customers travelling without a reservation may experience sailing waits. The best times to travel are posted on BC Ferries’ Travel Planning pages at
Did you know? On our reservable routes, a sailing wait only applies to people without reservations, when a vessel has reached capacity. Customers who make reservations are guaranteed to be on their sailing of choice. Reserved traffic moves smoothly. If a sailing wait occurs, it means that non-reserved traffic will be placed on the next available ferry based on the order they arrived at the terminal.
  • Consider parking options – Parking lots at the major terminals fill up quickly on long weekends. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion. When parking lots fill up, BC Ferries informs customers via Twitter @BCFerries and on the website.
  • Ride-share, if possible – BC Ferries encourages customers to car-pool or travel as a foot passenger. Vehicle deck space can fill up quickly and will be sold out at popular times.
  • Spend time with the family – Customers planning to explore B.C. this season can book their Family Day getaway with BC Ferries Vacations ™. Packages to coastal destinations include ferry travel, hotel accommodation, and family-friendly extras. Plus, kids 11 and under sail and stay free. Visit or drop by the BC Ferries Vacations Centre in downtown Vancouver at 1010 Canada Place.
For full schedule information, current conditions and reservations, please visit For the most up-to-date travel information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter.

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Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267 Fax (250) 978-1119
Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211.

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 386-3431
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)
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